A Western Australian fisherman had 10 intense minutes as he fought off a great white shark this weekend.
Joe Petrovich, 59, was fishing with friends about 1 mile off of Burns Beach Sep. 7.
The experienced spearo was by himself, when a 14 foot great white shark showed up around 9 a.m.
Petrovich stayed at the surface as he slowly began swimming back towards the boat, which was about 820 feet away.
“It was following me, it was pretty much stalking me all the way back, trying to find a weakness in my defence,” He told 7News.
He was able to fend off the shark’s advance using the tip of his speargun.
“It was coming at me from lots of different directions, the left-hand side, the right-hand side, it’s coming at me from underneath.”
The shark charged the bricklayer several times and nearly grabbed the speargun in its open mouth.
Petrovich said the shark was so close, he could have put his fist down its throat.
During one pass the shark bit Petrovich’s fin.
“I was sh*t scared. I mean how would you be? I think I’m going to lose one leg and I might lose the bottom half of the other one as well,” he said.
“You’ve only got one shot…it’s very hard to kill an animal that big. If you wound it you are only going to make it angrier.”
The Melville resident finally made it back to the boat and alerted his dive buddies, who had been completely unaware of the shark.
The group watched the shark as it swam underneath the boat and around the area for another 10 minutes.
While the incident was unnerving, it won’t keep the Melville resident out of the water.
“(The shark) was doing basically what it does all the time,” Joe said.
“It was just looking for a feed. I just wish it wasn’t me.”
There have been a total of 68 shark attack bites (63 with injury, 16 of which are considered provoked*) publicly reported and verified in 2019.
All locations have been marked on the 2019 Shark Attack Map.
Five fatal**; 37 were reported in the U.S. (including one fatal), with 22 occurring in Florida (4 provoked), 9 in Hawaii (1 provoked,1 fatal, 1 no injury) and 2 in California (1 no injury). Eleven have been reported in Australia, zero fatal. Four unconfirmed bites, worldwide, not included in the total count.
*Provoked defined as spearfishing, feeding sharks, fishing, etc. (listed with green marker).
**not including one possible scavenge
Western Australia: 2 (1 no injury, 0 provoked), Fatal: 0, Unconfirmed: 0.
Northern Territory: 1 (0 no injury, 1 provoked), Fatal: 0, Unconfirmed 0.
Queensland: 4 (0 no injury, 0 provoked), Fatal: 0, Unconfirmed 2.
New South Wales: 4 (1 no injury, 1 provoked), Fatal: 0, Unconfirmed 0.
South Australia: 0 (0 no injury, 0 provoked), Fatal: 0, Unconfirmed 0.
Victoria: 0 (0 no injury, 0 provoked)), Fatal: 0, Unconfirmed 0.